Let’s get acquainted with the story by Nasta Zakharevich about terms and human attitude to wildlife. Sounds familiar to the biocentrism point of view, which we described in our author’s article previously.
The French philosopher Rene Descartes became famous among the broad masses thanks to the idea “I think, therefore I am.” Today, many intellectuals agree that language is a way of existence of consciousness, and, accordingly, our actions are fundamentally important and how we think.
But no matter how the movement against hate speech develops, it almost always focuses exclusively on people. Our society half-and-half absorbed the idea that we should talk about other people, if not respectfully, then at least neutral. However, the reflection on the topic of what words we use when talking about animals and plants is still considered something strange and stupid.
However, our actions are highly dependent on words. Choosing one or another vocabulary, we form a certain attitude towards an object or phenomenon, normalizing one or another approach.
And if we analyze what words we use about animals and plants, it turns out that our approach is more utilitarian. A dog is a friend of man, and berries and mushrooms are gifts of the forest.
Utilitarianism itself is not exactly some kind of absolute evil. It is quite logical that in the global struggle for resources, we, humans, look at the environment as a source of these very resources and try to “squeeze” it out as much as possible. The problem is that a utilitarian attitude towards nature today calls into question our existence tomorrow, and definitions like “man’s friend” and “gifts of the forest” do not help improve the situation.
Because the forest is not a self-assembled tablecloth, and the plants growing in it are not gifts but wealth. You might say that there is not much difference between gifts and wealth, but that is not the case. There is a fundamental difference between these concepts, and it is best described as a “difference in purpose.”
Wealth is self-sufficient in its existence, it just is, and that’s it. You can exist next to it, and you can ignore it or use it on specific conditions.
You can fight for it, but there will be either equal competing parties or conquerors who defend against invasion. In general, we initially have nothing to do with forest wealth. But with gifts, everything is different: they are created to be presented. To us, of course.
Being confident that mushrooms, berries, and wood are gifts from the forest, we normalize our attitude to the forest as a source of objects for consumption and, as it were, relieve ourselves of all responsibility for the consequences of our actions.
And it’s not that picking mushrooms or berries is wrong behavior. This can be a very common part of the food chain and an enjoyable experience for an individual.
The fact is that due to total anthropocentrism, people are often convinced that the whole world exists only for our well-being.
And this leads to sad consequences. In reality, the world is not a computer game where we can do whatever we want at our discretion, and in case of failure, simply restart the level or start the whole game over. Here you cannot return to the main menu to pause and think about fixing the consequences of mistakes.
We adapt the world to our needs, and this is quite normal up to a certain level. But by calling a dog a friend of man, and blueberries – gifts of the forest, we deceive both each other and ourselves. They exist independently of us (except for artificially bred dog breeds that will not survive in the wild). But the breeding of new “designer” breeds is another manifestation of the culture of total consumption, not friendship.
Let’s stop lying. Judging by the climate crisis, our past relationship with nature has not worked out very well. We must try something new.